We ran into a small issue with the boxes for our main light fixtures. Our plan is to have two sconces on each endcap and one above the piano (the bathroom wall). When we opened up a sconce to check it with the light box, we discovered that the fixture is surprisingly heavy and the round electrical box is surprisingly flexible. We didn’t like the idea of putting our heavy double light fixtures on something that might not support them well, so we’re taking back those boxes.
With the little daylight that was left, Brian installed the outdoor light. Once it is weatherized, that will be all set.
After a little hardware store tour, Brian discovered a good box at Do It Best Hardware. It’s about twice the cost of the blue ones but feels super solid and uses screws and metal brackets to attach.. He installed all the light boxes, except for the bathroom.
We ran into an issue with the lights on the south wall. The decision to have our windows sized the way they are and the decision to have cross-beams did not exactly happen at the same time. The windows were installed at exactly the height we wanted (a certain distance above the ground for dog feet prevention), but we didn’t realize that their height put them just shy of the cross beams. Our original plan had been to evenly space our two sconces on that wall – one would end up kind of above the door/left window and the other would be above the right window/empty space.
We discovered an issue with that plan – Because of the placement of the cross beams (8 feet above the ground), our lights end up aligned with them or above them. While this might not be a problem right now, aside from possible shadow-casting, it would be an issue should we ever decide to change the top space into a loft.
We’d rather have the future flexibility than keep our original light placement, so we decided to put one light above the fridge (which is pretty tight to the east wall, just to the left of the door) and the other light between the door and the left window. This will focus the light on the kitchen and the piano area, at the expense of our west wall and Fred’s space.
We will also have a sconce on the bathroom wall, so that will cast some illumination at the west wall and toward Fred. If needed, we could add a lamp near Fred; but really, it’ll probably be fine.
We checked in with our local electrical inspector about smoke detector placement in a house that consisted of one room. He said to mount it anywhere within 1 foot of the top of the ceiling. The north endcap, near the top, fits the bill and is very convenient vs the middle of the house. We also asked if we could skip the NEC 2014 mandated phone line install since we’d have a cable modem but he wants us to just put a bit of some kind of ‘raceway’ in the wall near the breaker panel with a piece of unterminated, jackless, CAT 5 network cable loosely hanging out of it. Fair enough – now to find the smallest possible thing considered ‘raceway’.
In discussing our options for smoke alarms we compared photoelectric versus ionizing. Ionizing uses a little radioactive material to ionize air for its detector whereas a photoelectric type does not. Also the photoelectric sensor is less prone to false positives from cooking. None of the local stores had hardwired photoelectric models so we had to order from the internet.
In order to run electrical cables along the 1.5″ furring strips in the arch walls, some special techniques will be used. There is a required protective space buffer of 1.25″ from the edge of the framing material to the edge of an electrical cable. Any place with less than 1.25″ needs to be protected with 1/16th” in thick steel plates or conduit. In order to keep the wires back in the safe zone, we will be using these Arlington multi-wire staples, colloquially known as ‘Christmas Trees’.
We called around to get estimates on blown-in insulation for the endcaps. We heard $819 (including travel 3 hours each way) from a company out of El Paso and $950 for a local guy. These estimates are for the endcaps only but now we are also contemplating using blown-in cellulose for the floor.
After numerous calls to the local inspector and some trips to the stores, Brian got started running the wiring. Also, after confirming that there were no local photoelectric smoke alarms, we ordered one from Amazon. Thanks to free 2-day shipping, we’ll have it in time for the inspection (Update: it looks like we don’t actually need it for the rough in inspection; just its electrical box with wires sticking out of it).
We have a Tucson business trip coming up this Sunday, which is good timing for electrical stuff. We need 6-2 wire for the water heater and none of our local stores carry it. We also need to return one of the bathroom vanity lights we purchased (we initially thought we’d want two) and replace one of the sconces that had a cracked shade.
Brian finished the largest circuit and installed the AFCI and GFCI breakers with tidily trimmed pigtails. We also practiced our waltz and started the salsa.
More of the same – wiring work. Brian discovered that the staples he had been using to secure the wire were very much inferior to the “Christmas trees”. We had used them in a few places before discovering the trees. Not going to do that again…
We had a productive trip to Tucson – picked up our housing supplies, took care of our business errands, ate some mediocre sushi and returned happily to the place with a fraction of the traffic.